Namco, 1988

(The screenshots are from the PC Engine/Turbo Grafix 16 version)

Screen orientation: Horizontal
Pinout: JAMMA
PCB system: Namco system 1
Sound: mono or stereo
Players: 1 or 2, taking turns
Buttons: 2 buttons (punch/kick/use weapon and jump)
DIP switch settings: The first switch takes activates a menu in which you can change the setup.

Splatterhouse is a horizontally scrolling beat'em up. You control a man who has to fight his way through a horde of evil creatures in order to reach and save his girlfriend who has been abducted. The character you play wears a white mask and bears a striking resemblance to Jason Vorhees in the Friday the 13th movies. You defend yourself by punching and kicking, and you can also pick up various weapons such as a machete, a stick and a shotgun. You go through several different areas including a cave, a flooded basement, a church, a hall of mirrors, a possessed kitchen and a tunnel of flesh. Each level ends with a special end-of-level adversarie.

The thing that makes this game stand out is the great amount of horrific features. There are things like zombies, ghosts, possessed furniture, crawling foetuses and a lot of splatter and gore. In the background you can sometimes see what's left of some unfortunate prisoners (watch out for their toxic vomit!), and some dismemberment leftovers also lie scattered on the floor.

I'm a horror fan, and I like this game despite its gameplay being somewhat limited. It's a simple beat'em up with few moves, but the gory graphics and the variety in the levels and opponents make it very entertaining. It's a very difficult game though.

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